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Restaurants in Berlin

You can spend as much or as little as you like on food in Berlin; it's one item, at least, that won't break the bank. The city's compressed, cosmopolitan nature means that it has restaurants offering a whole gamut of cuisines from around the globe. Indeed, ethnic eateries - many of which serve full meals for under DM15/?7.50. - are at least as ubiquitous as traditional German GaststÅ tten. And nowhere is more than a stone's throw from a bar , at least in the western part of the city. Just about every street corner has a small Kneipe, ranging from lugubrious beer-swilling holes to slick, upscale hangouts for Berlin's night people. Most stay open later than elsewhere in Germany: it's quite feasible to drink around the clock here, the result of a law that requires bars to close only for an hour a day for cleaning. It's worth bearing in mind that many are excellent (and inexpensive) choices for food, especially breakfast, which may be served till afternoon - or later.

The more established restaurants are in the west, but in the last few years the eastern districts of the city have experienced a restaurant boom. Generally speaking, these eastern establishments cater to a young and savvy crowd and emphasize nouvelle and ethnic menus. Particularly in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, there are now plenty of choices and excellent food to be had.

The cheapest places for a meal are the Mensas of the Technical University on Ernst-Reuter-Platz and at Hardenbergstr. 34, which are officially for university students only and open Mon-Fri 11.15am-2.30pm. In addition to these, there is a wide variety of inexpensive snack stands and stand-up eateries in Berlin. In fact, there seems to be a Turkish fast-food stand, Italian pizzeria, or a Chinese or Thai takeaway on just about every corner, but separating the good from the ugly can be a bit hit or miss. The following are recommended.

Al Rai , Grosse Hamburger Str. 20/21, Mitte. A spacious, informal place where you can linger long over your tea. It offers Arab specialities such as couscous and shish kebab.
Brooklyn , Oranienstr. 176, Kreuzberg. Wonderful, inexpensive American-style hero sandwiches, cheesecake and brownies.
Duy Thai Snack , Prenzlauer Allee 226, Prenzlauer Berg. Inexpensive and tasty Thai cookery including many vegetarian and noodle dishes.
Soup Kultur , Kurfurstendamm 224, Charlottenburg. Soup kitchen with changing daily specials and take-away service. Mon-Fri noon-8pm. Sat noon-4pm.

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